- Posted January 31, 2014 by
CIBC breach of trust and negligence
This is about the negligence and breach of trust of CIBC for the care and safekeeping of my mother’s safety deposit box content. CIBC provided access to the safety deposit box by one party, without proper authority, documentation or consent and usage of my mother's debit card after her death.
This incident occurred in a small town at the only CIBC bank. In the spring of 2009 while settling my mother’s estate it came to light that access had been granted to the safety deposit box, without my knowledge or consent.
One family member was given access to her safety deposit box on April 16, 2009, a few weeks prior to her death, without the other’s knowledge or consent, or proper legal documentation on file. It appears from CIBC’s position that in absence of my mother’s presence, her verbal consent or “say so” stated by the family member entering the safety deposit box, was enough to allow access. Later his “say so” was also enough for CIBC to state there was nothing of value in the safety deposit box.
CIBC is in a breach of trust for my mother’s affairs as they failed to follow their Safety Deposit Box Policies when providing one family member access to the safety deposit box, and failed to ensure they had the proper legal documents or powers of attorneys on file to do so.
After filing a complaint with the CIBC Ombudsman, they wrote me a conclusion of investigation letter stating that: “there is [sic] no records at CIBC indicating that your brother was added to your mother’s safety deposit box contract as an authorised agent. However, there is a record that he was added to the safety deposit box entry card.” The fact is there are no records on file giving him authority to sign the safety deposit box card and because he simply physically signed the card to enter the box, CIBC deems this as the authority.
It also begs the question that because someone “says so”...one can enter a safety deposit box on a whim.
From my investigation, CIBC do not have any legal documentation, letters, or any other written permission from my mother indicating anyone could have access to the safety deposit box. I am at a loss to understand how this could have occurred. I cannot help but wonder how safe a person’s safety deposit box content is if this is the practice and position used by CIBC to support their mismanagement of my mother’s affairs.
Also addressed to CIBC was my mother's Debit card usage before and after death. CIBC was also negligent in processing expenses that my mother did not incur or authorise, before and after her death. My mother had been incapacitated for several years and could not physically present herself to a bank. Because this town is small, and because my mother was a shrewd business women actively involved in the community, she was well knownby all and by the entire staff of CIBC. The CIBC bank manager admitted to me that she was aware that my mother had died, yet the bank was still processing withdrawals from her account until 2011, on the premise that they had not been formally informed in writing that she was deceased. The local newspaper published an obituary about her death. I have records and proof of purchases that occured for more than one year after her passing. Although the bank may not have had a formal request that she had died, surely they had a moral responsibility to safeguard her assets knowing she had died.
There were also credit card purchases made on my mother’s CIBC credit card while she was incapacitated under long term nursing care. These were not made by her. CIBC policies about credit cards are clear in establishing the responsibility of the card owner and the bank is the owner of credit cards they issue. Granted, given my mother had died, she could not return the cards to the bank in person.
Why they did not feel compelled to enforce their policies is beyond comprehension.
I cannot believe that in this day and age, with all the rules, polices and proceedures set by banks that this would be allowed to happen and if you think your safety deposit box contents are safe, think again.